IL suburbs of STL?
I am from Minneapolis, but travel all over for work-- this week I'm going to be working in Belleville, IL and staying in Fairfield Heights. Any good non-chain restaurants within 20 minutes of those areas? I have been told by those already onsite that my prospects are grim.... but they don't know the hounds.
I think you mean Fairview Heights :>
You really are limited. What restaurants there are over that way are not exactly haute cuisine.
You could go to Eckert's - which is a family owned orchard and has a restaurant with it. Home cooking.
There is Fischer's in downtown Belleville where my family has their "meal after the funeral" for every relation that has ever died (born and raised in Belleville, can you tell?) But again, it is okay food but nothing to write home about.
If you are feeling prayerful, you could head to Lady of the Snows for whatever they have (probably a buffet attended by many senior citizens)
If I was you and you aren't afraid to drive, I would try for Fast Eddie's in Grafton, which is really good food for very cheap (not fancy food, but good burgers, etc.)
Not sure how much time you will have but my family's secret place from several generations back is Kruta's Bakery in Collinsville. THE BEST around, bar none. You could certainly fill up there (hope you didn't give up baked goods for Lent :>)
Good luck but pickins' are slim around the Fairview Heights/Belleville area for good food close.
You could always pop over to downtown St. Lou - right across the river - if you get desperate for a gourmet meal.
Edwardsville is north of Fairview Heights and you have a few good options. Neruda-new american food. Erato on Main. Wine bar with great food, probably my first choice. 222 artisan bakery also on Main street. not open at night, but wonderful pastry croissants and house roasted coffee(not kidding here, they could make it in any city in the country) Probably more like 25 minutes though
Honestly though, you are just as close to downtown stl and you might just want to go to Mosaic. I sent MSP foody friends there and they loved it. Right close by is the Flamingo Bowl where you can get a fabulous cocktail after(even a bit of absinthe if that is your thing)
Check out the message board on STLbites.com for more options. The extra in the know foodies hang out there and I have been led to wonderful food there. You will find links for some of the places I wrote about on there as well.
Fairview is one chain after another. There is only one place you should go and it is actually in ofallon on highway 50. 17th street BBQ. Bon Appetit just named it the best BBQ in the country.
Good luck and try to get to STL at some point. I would hate to think that you would spend your entire time in Fairview heights. There are some really fun places/neighborhoods to check out.
Sorry I cannot remember the name of the restaurant in Fairview Heights that is run by a former White House chef. It's goal is to get troubled youth into the restaurant, and it only serves lunch.
In Belleville is Marilyn's Pie Pantry. You can order half a sandwich so you will have appetite left over for a piece of pie.
If you have a car, and if you have time, I urge you to visit isolated Calhoun County, which sits on a peninsula reachable by ferry. In the town of Brussels, Illinois, is the Wittmond Hotel. This hotel has been serving the same meal 365 days a year since 1887. A wonderful experience.